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Ed Webb

Israel's war on the Arabic language - AJE News - 1 views

  • A survey, publicised at a conference at Tel Aviv University in December, found that while 17 percent of Jewish citizens claimed to understand Arabic, that figure fell to just 1 percent when they were asked to read a book
  • those with a working knowledge of Arabic were mostly elderly Jewish immigrants born in Arab countries - a generation rapidly dying off
  • half of Israeli Jews with a western heritage wanted Arabic scrapped as an official language, while the figure rose even higher - to 60 percent - among Jews whose families originated from Arab countries
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  • Israel's Jewish schools barely teach Arabic, he observed, and students choosing it do so chiefly as a qualification for entering Israeli military intelligence.
  • When the head of Israel Railways was questioned in 2012 on why station stops were announced in Hebrew and English only, he replied that adding Arabic would "make the train ride noisy".
  • According to a survey, one in four Palestinian citizens struggle to read Hebrew. Farah, of Mossawa, noted that even when public bodies such as the transport ministry included Arabic, it was often so poorly translated from Hebrew that the information was unintelligible.
  • In February it was revealed that Tel Aviv University had barred Palestinian staff in its tuition department from speaking Arabic to students. The policy was reversed after threats of legal action.
  • Jewish and Palestinian parents in Jaffa staged a protest, accusing the Tel Aviv municipality of breaking promises to include Arabic signs and respect Muslim and Christian holidays at the city's first public bilingual school
  • Sawsan Zaher, a lawyer with Adalah, said the 2002 ruling had been a high point for recognition of Arabic in Israel, with the more liberal court of the time stating that it was vital to the dignity of the Palestinian minority that Arabic be used in public spaces in mixed cities. "In recent years Adalah has been very cautious about bringing more such cases to the courts," she told Al Jazeera.

    "Given the shift to the right in the intervening years, we are worried that the advances made in language rights then might be reversed by the current court."

Ed Webb

Varieties of 'Islamophobia' and its targets | openDemocracy - 3 views

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    Very useful in placing in historical context identity politics that can appear to be eternal. Empires built both umma nationalism and Islamophobia, in different ways.
Ed Webb

Israel's army and schools work hand in hand, say teachers - 2 views

  • officers from a military intelligence unit called Telem design much of the Arabic language curriculum
  • “The military are part and parcel of the education system. The goal of Arabic teaching is to educate the children to be useful components in the military system, to train them to become intelligence officers.”
  • Mendel said Arabic was taught “without sentiment”, an aim established in the state’s earliest years.

    “The fear was that, if students had a good relationship with the language and saw Arabs as potential friends, they might cross over to the other side and they would be of no use to the Israeli security system. That was the reason the field of Arabic studies was made free of Arabs.”

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  • many fear that the situation will only get worse under the new education minister, Naftali Bennett, who heads Jewish Home, the settler movement’s far-right party
  • Nearly 300 schools have been encouraged to join an IDF-education ministry programme called “Path of Values”, whose official goal is to “strengthen the ties and cooperation between schools and the army”.
  • “Militarism is in every aspect of our society, so it is not surprising it is prominent in schools too,” said Amit Shilo, an activist with New Profile, an organisation opposed to the influence of the army on Israeli public life.

    “We are taught violence is the first and best solution to every problem, and that it is the way to solve our conflict with our neighbours.”

  • Each school is now graded annually by the education ministry not only on its academic excellence but also on the draft rate among pupils and the percentages qualifying for elite units, especially in combat or intelligence roles.
  • Zeev Dagani, head teacher of a leading Tel Aviv school who opted out of the programme at its launch in 2010, faced death threats and was called before a parliamentary committee to explain his actions.
  • Adam Verete, a Jewish philosophy teacher at a school in Tivon, near Haifa, was sacked last year after he hosted a class debate on whether the IDF could justifiably claim to be the world’s most moral army.
  • Revital, an Arabic language teacher, said the army’s lesson plans were popular with pupils. “I don’t approve of them, but the students like them. They celebrate and laugh when they kill the terrorists.”

    Revital said she had been disciplined for speaking her mind in class and was now much more cautious.

    “You end up hesitating before saying anything that isn’t what everyone else is saying. I find myself hesitating a lot more than I did 20 years ago. There is a lot more fascism and racism around in the wider society,” she said.

  • “You have to watch yourself because the pupils are getting more nationalistic, more religious all the time. The society, the media and the education system are all moving to the right.”

    A 2010 survey found that 56 per cent of Jewish pupils believed their fellow Palestinian citizens should be stripped of the vote, and 21 per cent thought it was legitimate to call out “Death to the Arabs”.

Ed Webb

Egyptian Chronicles: Regarding the NYTimes Map Dividing 5 Arab countries in to 14 - 0 views

  • NY Times published a op-ed about how 5 countries in the Arab world can be divided in to 14 countries by Robin Wright. The graphic representation of the op-ed as a map became a viral in the Arab social media especially in Egypt.
     
    It spread like fire as if that map was a reality , not the visualization of some analyst’s views that may happen and may not. It spread like a fire as if that that was going to happen for real. As Big Pharaoh said on twitter this map in the New York Times would fuel debate and conspiracy theories in the region especially in Egypt for the upcoming 825 years.
     
    This is not the first map of its kind where American Middle East analyst says something similar, if you remember some American Magazine published another similar map during the invasion of Iraq about possible divisions and unlike Wright’s map Egypt was among those unlucky countries that were going to spilt.
Ed Webb

American citizens are detained in Hebron for wearing hijab on a 'Jewish street' - 1 views

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    A description of what borders, identities, citizenships etc can look and feel like at the micro-level in the Israel-Palestine context.
Ed Webb

In search of a great Arab leader? - In Depth - Al Jazeera English - 3 views

  • he was very much the product of an era - an era that helped him to loom large in a way that no leader from the South can in our time of pervasive US hegemony and the delegitimisation of resistance movements.
  • The international polarisation brought on by the Cold War both helped and hurt the nascent post-colonial states. On the one hand they became pawns in a merciless struggle between two superpowers. On the other, the Soviet Union became a source of political and military support and training as the national liberation movements found themselves confronting growing US influence.
  • While true that the withdrawal of the invading powers was partly a sign of the advent of US power and the end of French and British influence, Nasser's refusal to submit etched his name in the collective Arab memory in a way that contrasts sharply with the perceived subservience of current Arab heads of state.
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  • Younger generations of Arabs are not as captivated by Nasser's legacy as their parents and grandparents. Some do not understand the nostalgia that has poured forth in Arab newspapers on the occasion of the anniversary of his death. They feel that they have inherited defeat and that the glory of the past has brought neither victory nor democracy.

    That is partly because the rulers that followed dismantled many of the achievements of Nasser and other leaders of popular movements from that era.

    But it is also partly because Nasser and other pan-Arab leaders failed to establish democratic institutions and were themselves guilty of repressing - to different degrees - dissent and opposition
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    Relates to what we were recently discussing in class: will someone ever replace Nasser as the most prominent leader in pan-Arabism?
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    Nice find, Ted. I added tags and highlights.
Ed Webb

Robert Fisk: Why Jordan is occupied by Palestinians - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The I... - 0 views

  • In most Arab countries, nationalism gave way to Islamist politics as old Arab secular movements failed in the face of Israeli and American pressure. But Jordan has reversed this transfer of influence. King Abdullah, to the satisfaction of most Jordanians of tribal or Palestinian origin, subdued the Muslim Brotherhood, stifled their parliamentary power and so preserved his own power. But the old-school army men and their followers, who include academics, schoolteachers and trade unionists, are now pushing the frontiers of politics in Jordan.
  • One of the nationalist supporters, a writer whose books are banned in Jordan, says they have tried to explain to western diplomats in Amman that King Abdullah of Jordan is facing growing protests from former senior army commanders and other nationalist groups. Another man says he attempted to tell a British official what they were seeking, "but he just stood up and walked out of the room".
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